“Khomeini’s decree stoked Muslim anger and paralyzed the West’s response to Islamic fundamentalism”

How the Salman Rushdie Fatwa Changed the World
Reuel Marc Gerecht
August 25, 2022

Apart from Iran’s Islamic revolution, for which Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini could claim only partial credit, his most momentous achievement was the February 1989 fatwa against author Salman Rushdie. Pronounced in response to Mr. Rushdie’s novel “The Satanic Verses,” Khomeini’s edict was the first time a Muslim militant had the audacity to apply an Islamic punishment deep inside the West. Khomeini applied jujitsu to the West’s claim that it stood for “universal values,” obliging it to take note of Muslim sensibilities about the sacred and the profane. Muslim reaction to Khomeini’s decree varied, but it elicited considerable sympathy among Sunni as well as Shiite believers. READ MORE

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